Kate Hoey calls for bikes to be registered and cyclists to pay "road tax"

Labour politician says she'd like to see more people cycling... but she has a funny way of encouraging them

by Simon_MacMichael   November 12, 2013  

London cyclist approaching junction.jpg

Labour MP Kate Hoey says she would like to see more people cycling and supports segregated bike lanes – but she also says that bicycles should be registered and that riders should pay road tax and carry insurance.

The MP for Vauxhall, in the news last month after being fined £240 after being caught driving her Mini through a red traffic light, was speaking to Peter Walker of the Guardian's Bike Blog.

The fine imposed on Hoey provoked widespread derision not to mention schadenfreude among cyclists, whom she had branded in a 2003 Daily Mail article as  “law-breaking Lycra louts.”

Hoey told Walker that with the benefit of hindsight, that article had appeared more extreme than she’d intended, and revealed that she backed Mayor of London Boris Johnson’s intention to introduce more cycle lanes in the capital – although it could be argued that her prime motivation for that appears to be to clear the roads for cars.

“I would love to see cycling separated, because I think it would help everybody,” she explained. “If it means more people cycling, great, especially if it makes it easier for me on the road. You're never going to get it everywhere, but it's going to have to happen because there's so many more people cycling.”

“But,” she added, “if we're going to do that don't you think they should have to pay something, as a road tax? Why should I pay a hundred and whatever pounds for my little Mini and they don't?”

Walker explained to her the difference between “road tax,” abolished in the 1930s, and Vehicle Excise Duty, and said she did subsequently email him to say: “By the way I do know that VED is based on size etc of car but the principle is that surely everyone using the road should be licenced and insured.”

Hoey, elected to Parliament in the safe Labour seat of Vauxhall in 1989, also called for bicycles to be fitted with number plates, saying: “What I do genuinely think, and the cycling lobby should argue for it too, is that everyone who rides a bicycle, particularly as a form of transport to work, should be registered, so their bike has a registration number.

“At the moment if someone does knock down an old lady and ride off no one can trace that person.”

While perceived cyclist and pedestrian conflict is a regular hobby-horse for some national and local media outlets and an issue often raised with the police by local residents, thankfully reported injuries are relatively rare.

Last year, according to the Department for Transport’s Reported Road Casualties Great Britain Annual Report 2012, there were 389 reported incidents in which a pedestrian was injured in a collision with a bicycle, of which 97 were serious and two fatal.

By comparison, 212 pedestrians were killed and 3,907 seriously injured following collisions with private cars alone.

As for registration, opponents point out that the bureaucracy – and presumably expense – involved would make such a scheme unworkable and deter people from cycling.

Hoey acknowledged, “I can see why cyclists feel they have to stand up against people,” adding, “but I never see cyclists criticising themselves. Cyclists don't seem to see to do anything about.”

It’s unclear whether Hoey is advocating some form of self-policing, but certainly cycling organisations such as CTC reinforce that cyclists must obey applicable laws, and a road.cc poll in February 2010 found that among site users, it was law-breaking that annoyed them most about other riders’ behaviour.

Walker pointed out to Hoey that speeding or driving through red lights – as she herself did – was common among motorists, and that the potential consequences were much more serious than in the case of a bicycle.

She countered his argument, saying: “But that is a sort of cop out, isn' it? It's like me saying, I'm only driving this little old Mini, why can't [I] just slip through a light as well if there's nothing coming?”

Towards the end of his article, Walker gives his impression of the MP, reflecting that “I don’t think Hoey has any genuine malice towards cyclists, and in many ways she means well. But she has, to my mind, some curious notions” – not least, given she represents a constituency with low levels of car ownership and higher than average levels of cycling, she should be advocating measures that might deter the latter.

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If she had a brain she might be dangerous.

Gasman Jim's picture

posted by Gasman Jim [50 posts]
12th November 2013 - 21:49

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“I don’t think Hoey has any genuine malice towards cyclists, and in many ways she means well. But she has, to my mind, some curious notions”

Curious notions?? Idiotic notions, completely unrealistic stupid half-witted notions don't you mean?
VED for bikes: the clue is in 'excise', i.e. you pay vehicle excise duty for the right to use your vehicle on publicly funded roads. This is based largely on how much damage and pollution your vehicle causes, as well as the facilities your vehicle uses. In short, cyclists should NOT pay excise duty because of: not damaging roads due to extreme lightness and slowness and tiny contact with the road; leaving more road room for motorists than if they were in a car; not polluting at all; not using most of the expensive features of the road system, i.e. motorways, complex junctions and roundabouts, wide roads, dual carriageways, most signs etc. etc., all of which are paid for by the taxpayer, including cyclists, but only used by motorists. Also, with the ten bikes in our house, paying VED on each one would be some ludicrous amount, whereas only the rich have more than one car. It's an absurd idea from an absurd person.

posted by bikeylikey [161 posts]
12th November 2013 - 21:59

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What a complete f@#%&ing arse Kate Hoey is. Clearly she is making it up as she goes along. No sane person, over the age of 12 could surely believe comparing a car, albeit an old Mini, with a bike is a sound counter arguement to red light jumping. Drivers only do it through impatience. Cyclists most often do it to stay clear of other motor vehicles and stay alive.

If Hoey reads this maybe she should remember the differences. A car has four wheels, is nigh on a ton in weight, is able to accelerate to 60mph in 10 seconds or so, is able to stop quickly, can travel in excess of 70mph, and is involved in killing people on a regular basis. Bicycles have none of these qualities. Oh and cars cause road wear so attract VED commensurate with this fact.

Insurance? Number plates? Is she from another planet? Some cyclist has clearly pissed her off and now she has decided to champion a lunatic Daily Mail idea. Just pondering over her views makes me wonder how she ever convinced anyone to vote for her. Arse.

posted by BigBear63 [69 posts]
12th November 2013 - 22:08

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allez neg wrote:

Ok, its crap for the pedestrians if they got hit, but its a bugger to lose momentum at each traffic light, and surely every cyclist makes a judgement call on running each red or dark amber light, knowing he's the one that's going to come off worse if his judgement is out.

What claptrap. The law is the law. What makes you or anyone else think they're above it? Rights come with responsibilities.

And using 'loss of momentum' as an excuse for RLJ'ing is pathetic: stopping and starting makes you fitter. Rule V applies.

"Aw, it was crap for that child I hit and killed, but hey, I didn't want to waste any energy".

posted by Pauldmorgan [160 posts]
12th November 2013 - 22:08

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Really? So you're riding home late at night, the road is empty and the only person around is a pedestrian who has pressed the button on the crossing but has already crossed to the opposite side, are you really going to stop for the red light? Does it give you some kind of smug sanctimonious glow to do so? Trackstanding in the rain thinking you look cool?

posted by drfabulous0 [269 posts]
12th November 2013 - 23:04

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What with this batshit fox botherer spouting off about bikes in London and that poo swinging loonytune in Cambridge the same week I don't know if the folks at road cc are face in hands in despair at writing about these idiots or they're putting Hoey up to it to generate articles Worried

Northernbike's picture

posted by Northernbike [115 posts]
12th November 2013 - 23:09

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drfabulous0, you don't describe the pedestrian in enough detail for me to decide whether posing would be worthwhile, however it is hard to look cool when wet so I'd probably not bother embarrassing myself.

My experience of the kind of Shoreditch-tw*t rider you describe is that they're the most likely to bang through a red light whilst I'm crossing the road with my children on the way to school. That kind of thing makes me angry and I don't want to be a hypocrite: I don't think that's sanctimonious but you're welcome to your opinion.

posted by Pauldmorgan [160 posts]
12th November 2013 - 23:32

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Where are we supposed to hang the registration plate? Silly

posted by paulfg42 [369 posts]
13th November 2013 - 0:00

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This evening I was waiting at a traffic light on the way home, a spot on Clapham Common with a cycle-only traffic light, from which you can ride across the main road straight ahead or along it. The light turned green so I started riding across the road - and a car decided to continue rather than stop at the red which would have been showing before my light turned green. Of course I was in his way so he had to stop, and he seemed quite sheepish about it. Luckily both of us were going pretty slow at that point.

posted by eurotrash [76 posts]
13th November 2013 - 0:28

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She does have a small point, a hell of a lot more cyclist jump red lights than cars (at least on my London commute) in 5 years I've only seen about 2 or 3 clear incidents of cars running reds, whereas I see at least 5 fellow cyclists run them every single day, so I can see why it's brought up in every single debate on road safety.

I used to commute on a route where I could watch at least 1 motorist drive through a clear red while I was waiting at the lights, every day (A71 Calder Junction roundabout in Edinburgh, for anyone who knows the road).
The Scottish Governments 2011 accident stats show that 95% of the accidents resulting from road users ignoring traffic signals are the responsibility of motorists.
Of course some cyclists jump red lights, but lets stop repeating the lie that cyclists are the main problem here. More motorist jump reds, and they cause more accidents. That's a fact.

Kate Hoey - what a disgrace you are, especially as a former Sports Minister.

posted by kcr [58 posts]
13th November 2013 - 1:19

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drfabulous0 wrote:
Really? So you're riding home late at night, the road is empty and the only person around is a pedestrian who has pressed the button on the crossing but has already crossed to the opposite side, are you really going to stop for the red light? Does it give you some kind of smug sanctimonious glow to do so? Trackstanding in the rain thinking you look cool?

If there's a red light , I stop for it, wether I'm driving my car, or riding my bike. Even if it's three in the morning and nobody around. It pisses me off when someone jumps a red light. Usually when it's a car jumping a red, they speed up as the lights change. When it's a cyclist, they just go through, whilst all the motorists at the lights are witnessing it. I had an incident when I shouted at a red jumping cyclist, where when the lights changed, the driver to my left tried to cut a 45" angle in front of me to try to knock me off. All because he was pissed off with the red light jumper. I wonder if that's why we have an "us and them" situation on the roads? It pisses me off when someone else makes me look like a c#@#@ to other road users, and assume that I routinely jump red lights. I have had some very close calls with people jumping red lights. Once when I was almost hit in the side at about 25mph by a red light jumper, and twice in the same day, I was on a crossing pushing my child in a buggy, when we were nearly hit by a red light jumper. don't go through red lights, they're there for safety reasons and traffic flow. If we all stop ata red lights, everyone will be happy, no more us and them. Smile

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [84 posts]
13th November 2013 - 2:16

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Do drivers subconciously reguard red light jumpers as insignificant road users? Do drivers look at a cyclists jumping a red light, and think to themselves, the cyclist isn't important enough to stop at the red light, so I don't have to pay any attention to them either? And subsequently reguard them as minor and insignificant? Or does it annoy the drivers waiting at the lights? Are cyclists doing themselves a disservice by jumping red lights?
I realise this makes me sound holier than thou. I am not.

tommy2p

posted by tommy2p [84 posts]
13th November 2013 - 2:35

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[[[[ I wonder...does K.Hooey ever complain--publicly--about dangerous drivers? If not, I think she'd better explain why not!
P.R.

PhilRuss

posted by PhilRuss [268 posts]
13th November 2013 - 5:09

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Would I need to get a licence & insurance for all of my bikes? Apply for a SORN for my MTB that only gets used on the road for a couple of snowy/slushy weeks in winter? Would the licence plate need to be big enough for the 'drink-driving, speeding, mobile-phoning motorist' (they ALL do that, don't they??) can contact the police to tell them that I am not in the cycle lane/gutter, where I belong??

Insurance IS a very good idea.

RLJ's really are nob-ends.

As are adult path-riders.

Would a licence plate count as a fairing on my TT bike??

Currently going slower than I'd like...

posted by stealth [176 posts]
13th November 2013 - 5:58

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Makes perfect sense, I mean licensing and taxing cars has completely eradicated road traffic collisions hasn't it? Applause

posted by JeevesBath [109 posts]
13th November 2013 - 8:55

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Let's slap a VED on running shoes and kid's trikes too Ms Hoey. What about your everyday pedestrian who spits their gum on the tarmac or chucks a fag butt on the floor? Who pays to clean up that polluting mess?? Total baloney.

Sam

posted by zagatosam [26 posts]
13th November 2013 - 9:25

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In addition to the comments made before, cycling at least for me represents somewhat of a purest way of getting about, not unlike walking or running. Taxing folks for getting about under their own steam seems fundamentally wrong.

evo111's picture

posted by evo111 [20 posts]
13th November 2013 - 9:35

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You voted for HER?

Grizzerly

posted by Grizzerly [113 posts]
13th November 2013 - 11:10

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obey the law dipsh*t! do you think anybody likes stopping for "unneccesary" red lights? You just make us cyclists look bad and then there's another annoyed car driver out there to cut us up/give us less room and generally think we're tw*ts Yawn Angry

posted by Dr Livingstone [21 posts]
13th November 2013 - 11:39

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Taking away the fact that she is a polititian...there is half logic to this. But again that logic is buearocracy at it's best. What kids are going to ride bikes with such expenses. Are police going to pursue cyclists...sounds like a cartoon. Lets road tax shoes because they go on roads as well. Lets make OAP's self insure to walk to the shops...clown

CJStevens

posted by CJSTEVENS1955 [25 posts]
13th November 2013 - 11:39

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drfabulous0 wrote:
Really? So you're riding home late at night, the road is empty and the only person around is a pedestrian who has pressed the button on the crossing but has already crossed to the opposite side, are you really going to stop for the red light? Does it give you some kind of smug sanctimonious glow to do so? Trackstanding in the rain thinking you look cool?

I stop in that situation out of fear that somewhere a petrolhead is lurking and secretly watching, ready to rush home (jumping reds on the way) and post a whinge about red-light-jumping-cyclists!

Actually, usually there isn't even the pedestrian there (pedestrian-controlled lights actually tend to change back to flashing amber very quickly - its those bloody sensor-controlled junction lights which are the ones that leave you sitting there like an idiot for no purpose).

Though then I tend to dismount and run across the junction, just to avoid giving ammunition to petrolheads. We all know the rules of the road _only_ apply to cyclists - motorists get a special exemption.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [629 posts]
13th November 2013 - 11:54

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PhilRuss wrote:
[[[[ I wonder...does K.Hooey ever complain--publicly--about dangerous drivers? If not, I think she'd better explain why not!
P.R.

You mean like this one?

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-P59iZo7I0yE/TilhF-m9c9I/AAAAAAAAA0k/F8MKK1C2Gk...

posted by farrell [1289 posts]
13th November 2013 - 12:01

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Kinda hoey!

The suggestion in the article is to jam yet more laws into machine with extremely meagre understanding of the fundamentals.

Cities are perfect for cycling, but not cars. So do something about the problem of cars.

London has a traffic problem. Almost all other UK places simply follow suit.

posted by dogcc [98 posts]
13th November 2013 - 12:22

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I hate red light jumpers with a passion, they deserve everything they get when something bigger and travelling much faster hits them.
But your average motorist thinks that every cyclist jumps red lights on every conceivable occasion and Ms Hoey is only adding fuel to that fire.
On the one occasion I did not stop at a red light. I spent the next fifteen weeks in hospital and my bike was wrecked.

K Stand Ken

posted by K Stand Ken [41 posts]
13th November 2013 - 12:59

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I would respect politicians a lot more if once in a while they said; 'you know what, I'm not sure, let me go away and think about it'.

The people don't demand immediate answers in easy-to-air soundbites, the media does. What the people demand is sensible considered arguments and proposals that have been thought through.

When the BS button is hit just to fill silence with words, all this does is add to the general sense of political disillusionment many people have had for a long while.

posted by Hoester [51 posts]
13th November 2013 - 13:33

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Katie, Katie, Katie! better not to comment!

However cyclists should be credited some of the money from the huge green energy budget for riding their bikes and contributing to zro emissions.

But I would say this to some of us cyclists: respect traffic rules, get to work/home in one piece and be SAFE!

Love & peace! Love & peace!

DanGot's picture

posted by DanGot [26 posts]
13th November 2013 - 15:53

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Crazy bitch ! Nuff said

Endorphines going up and adrenaline going down, who needs drugs?

posted by banzicyclist2 [186 posts]
13th November 2013 - 23:49

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Is she suggesting sticking a number plate on the arse of horses too? What about pedestrians, especially joggers, forcing their way past old ladies on the pavement?

posted by Orbea Mike [15 posts]
14th November 2013 - 0:28

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'Really? So you're riding home late at night, the road is empty and the only person around is a pedestrian who has pressed the button on the crossing but has already crossed to the opposite side, are you really going to stop for the red light? Does it give you some kind of smug sanctimonious glow to do so? Trackstanding in the rain thinking you look cool? '

Trackstanding never looks cool, so I'll let that one go. But otherwise, you sound a complete idiot.

posted by andyp [796 posts]
14th November 2013 - 9:37

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Orbea Mike you're definitely onto something here! Pedestrians (or " reciprocating shoe- operators" as I like to call them) need at least one plate on them. Probably best off with one facing forward and one on their back.

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posted by rainman onwheels [11 posts]
16th May 2014 - 19:46

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